Photos by: Kat Ignatova, Kean Goh, and Isabella Gong.
Editor’s note, October 28, 2020: This article and others in the history series will be updated to address the lack of diversity in the original text of Quidditch Turns Ten, as well as to more thoroughly discuss quidditch in the past 5 years. Each article will be reviewed and re-released for more inclusivity. Current and past quidditch community members will be invited to contribute to the updated articles, so that we can more accurately tell the story of the past 15 years and include voices that have been missing from the narrative. More information on how to get involved will be available soon. For questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“And my bracket dies with the first game of the tournament.”
The tweet from Matt Panico, captain of the Steel City Quidditch Club out of Pittsburgh, captured a seminal moment for the sport: Middlebury College would not be attending the sixth annual World Cup after going 0-3 in pool play at the Northeast Regional Championships in 2012.
For the first time, in the 2012-2013 season, regional championships would be used to determine which teams qualified for World Cup VI. It was one of many changes that signaled real strides toward legitimacy as a sport.
At the end of 2011, the IQA contracted with OAN Sports Marketing, a firm based out of Florida that represents sports organizations to city visitor bureaus looking to bring sporting events to their cities. Through OAN’s work, seven cities submitted bids to host IQA events, including Kissimmee, Florida, which won the right to host World Cup VI. That move generated a lot press attention, including from the Atlantic, which interviewed Kissimmee about their choice to submit: “‘We had to put in a competitive bid to host the World Cup,’ said Shelley Maccini, executive director of Experience Kissimmee, a destination marketing firm charged with boosting Kissimmee’s tourism and the IQA’s official partner in hosting World Cup VI. ‘Kissimmee hosts a lot of events, a lot of “normal” sporting events, but we were looking to expand into non-traditional sports, especially those we see as having real growth potential, like quidditch.’”
The IQA also started a referee certification program in 2013, an important step for improving safety in a complex, full contact game. In the first six months after the program was implemented, over 90 head referees earned their certification and staffed over 65 tournaments. The IQA also hired its first paid staff members, two full-time and two part-time employees. This important step for the league, made possible by the inaugural season of the individual membership program, allowed staff to be readily accessible to city partners, volunteers, and members throughout the year.
2014 was a pivotal year for the sport internationally. That summer, the IQA rebranded to become US Quidditch, the national governing body for the sport in the US. A new organization was founded under the old name to serve the international community. Globally, the sport skyrocketed after this point, going from 54 teams outside the US to 370 teams in the 2019-20 season.
Newlyweds sporting customized Team USA fan jerseys from the 2012 Summer Games.
Photo by: Megan Atkinson.
QC Boston Beater Sheldon Bostic leads a pre-game chant at World Cup VII in 2014.
Photo by: Michael E. Mason
Snitch is loose
Snitch Racquel Jones holds off seekers Mike Pascutoi and Ramon Gonzales at World Cup VI in 2013.
Photo by: Michael E. Mason.
Sky high view
One of ten fields at World Cup VII, taken from a helicopter.
Photo by: Michael E. Mason.
Boston University cheers during the opening ceremonies at World Cup VI in 2013.
Photo by: Annie Govekar.
From Michael E. Mason
Photo by Michael E. Mason.
“This is my favorite photo—not a game photo, but a sideline photo. It is Tony Rodriguez of the Lost Boys with water running down his face. This game against BGSU from World Cup VI is widely considered one of the best games played in our sport. I consider World Cup VI the turning point from whimsy to athletics, and in one shot I feel like I was lucky enough to capture it. The intensity, the struggle, and the amazing game that we play—all in one shot.”
From Hannah Lindgren
Photo by: Isabella Gong.
“When I found out that real life quidditch was a ‘thing’ in 2009, I had no idea how much it would impact my life for the better. One fantastic opportunity led to another until, somehow, I was chosen to lead World Cup VI. I could not have been prouder or more excited to usher in a new era of World Cup experiences for the International Quidditch Association players and teams. I spent a year meeting with some of the most capable, warm, funny humans planning the event, which would turn out to be equal parts terrifying and rewarding.
“There are so many moments from that week that are still so prominent in my memory, but here are just a few: shedding a few tears after seeing the IQA flag flying on the morning of the first day, being eerily calm and confident with my team doing their various things, having my family there running the hospitality booth and staff security (and for hugs), golf cart races with Hospitality Director Hilary Jarman to let off some steam, and seeing the IQA logo projected onto the entrance of Islands of Adventure at Universal Studios for the afterparty at the end of a loooong weekend.
“I credit the International Quidditch Association and World Cup VI for bringing SO MUCH good to my life. It’s one of my proudest accomplishments and one of the best experiences of my life.”
From Isabella Gong
Photos by: Isabella Gong.
“I was already a photographer before quidditch. It was only natural that when I started playing—and quidditch was my maiden sport—I would start taking photos as well. After volunteering at World Cup VI, I joined the then-IQA as a staff photographer and the rest is history. Working under Michael E. Mason and our team of dedicated quidditch photographers, sacrificing our personal lives to document the biggest tournament of the year, has been a great exprience. If I could make a stable living off quidditch photography, I would, but even if I couldn’t, I would do it anyway.”
From Mollie Lensing
Photo by: Sam Medney.
“My favorite experience as a quidditch player was being selected for Team USA in 2012 and competing during the Olympic torch relay ceremony. It was one of the most humbling moments of my life to be at that event surrounded by other amazing athletes and realize that I was a part of a small group of people that were the best at a sport. It was also at that event that I saw the true potential for quidditch, due to the explosion of international growth in such a short time. And despite all the growth of quidditch at that point, I still knew it was only the beginning. Reflecting now on my six years of being a part of this sport I realize how special it is that so many of us can say we have helped impact the sport and the direction it will go in the next ten years.”
From Tegan Bridge
Photo by: Janet Hoffar.
“Quidditch has become a major part of my identity since I got involved five years ago.
I started uOttawa Quidditch in November 2010 with Clare Hutchinson and Deirdre Walters and since then the team has grown to a club made up of two competitive teams, recreational players, and non-players who just love the sport. That’s one of the best parts about being involved, the community. It’s inclusive and the people are wonderful. I met most of my closest friends in university through quidditch. I met my boyfriend of three years, Steven, at uOttawa Quidditch’s very first practice, which was in knee-deep snow in -25C weather at Carleton. We were all bundled in snowsuits, truding through the snow, playing this game that some people weren’t sure really existed. It was so much fun. Steven wore a Pook Toque.
“Canadian Quidditch faces a lot of challenges that the sport doesn’t really face elsewhere: a small population density, harsh winters, huge distances between established teams, and a well-established league immediately to the South. That said, they are challenges we’re rising to meet. There are so many new teams being formed every year and so many new people learning to play quidditch every season. Quidditch Canada is a young organization and just finished its first season, but it’s growing. As long as our players are passionate about this sport, what’s a little snow?”
From Kedzie Teller
Photo by: Kean Goh.
“What I find so wonderful about quidditch is the way it brings together vastly different communities. There are the hardcore athletes who play for the glory of winning, the passionate literary buffs who want to live out the amazing experiences they imagined while reading, and everyone in between. Being such an inclusive sport, people who play quidditch have an opportunity to meet and learn from so many people they may have never otherwise come in contact with. It’s a special thing when something can bring people together under a common bond, and quidditch has done that since the very beginning.
“For me, quidditch has always primarily been a place to satiate my competitive drive. Since my very first practice on the lawns of Boston University, I knew I found something special, and I was determined to help quidditch grow and be recognized as a legiti- mate and challenging sport. I look back at all I’ve accomplished both on and off the field and it’s funny to think that seven years ago I would never have even considered playing something born in the pages of Harry Potter. But now, here I am, completely and helplessly in love with quidditch, and while I know I don’t have a lot of years left playing, I also know it’s something that will always be a part of me.
“I look back over the last six years and there are so many moments that I could pin as my absolute favorite. From championship victories, to being se- lected for Team USA, I have a lot to be proud of, but my favorite memory is not one that took place on the field. Instead, I think my favorite moment will always be after my last game as a BU Terrier. When the snitch was pulled and we were defeated, I lowered my head and began to cry; not because we lost, but because my journey with the team that began my quidditch career was over. Before I could pull my face from my hands, I felt myself being surrounded by teammates, and when I looked up my entire squad had rushed the field to hug me and show their support. Their kindness in that moment is something I will never forget and helps remember that no matter where the sport takes me, it all started at BU.”
From Crystal Hutcheson
Photo by: Alex Gates.
“Being part of the creative team that pushes the design aesthetic for the most unique sport in the world has its own twists, challenges and perks! Each year’s Cup design has been a true team effort. Each one ends up taking on a life of its own as they add a visual to the story of quidditch. For World Cup VI in Kissimmee, our logo ended up being posted in a LARGE format at the entrance to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and our entire team freaked out! After World Cup VII, someone tagged me on Facebook with a photo that proved one of our Australian players had gotten the logo TATTOOED on her body! And at World Cup 8, the entire staff lost their minds when we saw our logo at the beginning of our Snapchat story for the entire world to see. I love being able to watch quidditch grow and see the efforts of our creativity truly paying off.”
From Eric Andres
“Conceptualizing and creating the QuidCon 2013 logo was an interesting learning experience, as I had (and still have) very little design experience. But, sometimes things just aesthetically click in your head and you have artistically inclined friends close by to help! I think it’s a good sign that I no longer see the logo as a representation of my design, but as a reminder of what a successful and memorable event it was.”
Quidditch Turns Ten Coffee Table Book
This limited edition, commemorative coffee table book chronicles the rise of quidditch from the perspective of the organizers, players, and photographers who have shaped the sport into what it is today. Quidditch Turns Ten is a hardcover, 10x13 inch 124-page full-color book, with gold foil on the cover and thick interior pages.